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Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance and New Evidence; Afghanistan's Most Powerful Officials Killed; Face to Face Meeting Between the U.S. Asylum Process for Migrant Families; China's Economy for the Third Quarter; Harry and Meghan Visiting Australia; a Good Deal on Brexit Still Achievable According to Theresa May; Relocation of the FBI Headquarters; Amid Criticism, A Smear Campaign Against Khashoggi To Protect Trump; Texas Senate Candidate Supports Impeaching Trump; Facebook Shows Off Its "War Room"; Prince Harry Climbs Sydney Harbour Bridge. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 19, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:09] NATALIE ALLEN, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: New evidence from the day Jamal Khashoggi disappeared, a Turkish paper publicist apparent security images of a Saudi officer in Istanbul on that very day.
GEORGE HOWELL, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: One of Afghanistan's most powerful security officials killed just days before the long-delayed parliamentary elections. We'll explain.
ALLEN: And the face to face meeting between the U.S. defense secretary and the Chinese defense minister after relations between Washington and Beijing soured in recent weeks. We'll tell you about that. Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. We appreciate you being here.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: -- Howell from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta -- starts right now. Our top story, new details are emerging about exactly what happened on the day Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. CNN has learned that Turkish authorities acted immediately upon learning he was missing within hours they suspected he had been killed.
HOWELL: Khashoggi's family in Saudi Arabia, they say that they still consider him a missing person, absence of any conclusive proof that he is dead. They say the Saudi government has been keeping them informed about the progress of its investigation.
ALLEN: Meantime, the pro-government newspaper in Turkey published surveillance photos of the Saudi intelligence officer with close ties to the Crown Prince, arriving with other Saudis at the consulate in Istanbul on the very day Khashoggi was there. Hours later, they flew back to -- on a private jet.
HOWELL: Now the search for Khashoggi started about 3 1/2 hours after he went inside the consulate building. And when he didn't come out, that's when his fiance, who was waiting for him, (Inaudible) advisor to the Turkish President.
ALLEN: It didn't take long for Turkish authorities to fear the worst for the Washington Post columnist. For more now, here's CNN's Nic Robertson in Istanbul.
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: (Inaudible) multiple sources here in Turkey and other sources elsewhere. We've been able to develop that much more precise picture of how quickly authorities here were able to realize what had happened to Jamal Khashoggi, to the point that the very evening or the day that he disappeared. They were able to get the police at the airport and intelligence operatives at the airport to check out a private charter jet that was flying back to Saudi Arabia.
Jamal Khashoggi fiance was waiting outside the consulate. After about 3 1/2 hours, she realized something was wrong. She called a senior advisor to President Erdogan. He then called a number of government officials, including intelligence officials, and as well called the Saudi ambassador in Ankara. The Saudi ambassador said he had no knowledge about what had happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
So about 6 p.m. that afternoon, the intelligence officials began to review their data from their recording material inside the consulate. This is recording material that the Turkish authorities have not yet publicly acknowledged that exists. So the intelligence officials, after screening that material and they get the hands on it around about 6 p.m. in the afternoon, within an hour or so they're beginning to realize what has happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
That he was beaten, tortured, killed, and his body dismembered. They then contact the airport police and stated their concern that Jamal Khashoggi might be abducted. The police at the airport say that they got seven Saudis there. The Turkish officials will later name those people of interest. People they say were on a hit squad that came to kill Jamal Khashoggi. The police at the airport say (Inaudible) screamed those seven Saudis who were waiting to get on to that private charter jet later that evening to fly back to Riyadh.
They screened and (Inaudible) their bags. They say there's nothing suspicious there. Undercover intelligence operatives then go on that private charter jet. (Inaudible) cleaners, so they have a disguise. They searched the aircraft, find nothing on toward there. The aircraft and the seven passengers were able to take off later that day.
What Turkish authorities weren't able to do was to search a plane, again, a private charter jet that flew to Riyadh earlier in the day. And again, that plane, one of two planes that Turkish officials say carried members of that hit squad into Turkey on that day to kill Jamal Khashoggi and then left. So Turkish authorities able to act very, very swiftly on their information on what happened inside the consulate has remained consistent throughout the Jamal Khashoggi within an hour or so of going into the building was brutally tortured, killed, and his body dismembered.
[02:04:57] And the Turkish authorities now continue to look for his body. They were very fast (Inaudible) that first night. So the whereabouts of his body remains a mystery, Nic Robertson, CNN, Istanbul, Turkey.
ALLEN: Sources tell CNN that Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior advisor to the U.S. President, is telling Donald Trump to move slowly on the Khashoggi matter and not to brush judgment.
HOWELL: And that may be getting more difficult, even as the U.S. President now seems to accept that Khashoggi is dead. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: On his way to a campaign rally in Montana, Presidential Trump finally stated what was apparent to much of the world, that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) Jamal Khashoggi is dead.
PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: It certainly looks that way to me. It's very sad, certainly looks that way.
ACOSTA: The President vowed there would be consequences if Saudi Arabia is found responsible.
TRUMP: We'll have to very (Inaudible) I mean it's bad, bad (Inaudible). But we'll see what happens.
ACOSTA: Nearly three weeks after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration wants to give Saudi Arabia even more time to explain what happened to the journalist, who appears to have been brutally murdered by operatives tied to Riyadh.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days to complete that, so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts surrounding that.
ACOSTA: The administration is hinging its response on the impending Saudi report, which critics worry is more likely to provide cover for the Saudi Crown Prince than be a full accounting of what happened to Khashoggi.
POMPEO: All of us will get a chance to make a determination with respect to the credibility and the work that went into that, whether it is truly accurate, fair, transparent in the very way that they made a personal commitment to me, and the Crown Prince also made a personal commitment to the President when he spoke to him.
ACOSTA: After meeting with President Trump's Secretary -- Mike Pompeo's stressed -- Saudi leaders who were facing mounting accusations of a cover-up.
POMPEO: I think it's important for us all to remember too. We have a long -- since 1932, a long strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
ACOSTA: Still, the administrations is taking steps to distance itself from the Kingdom, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that he won't be traveling to Saudi Arabia for a global investment summit later this month. Democrats argue that's not nearly enough and accused the White House of trying to block lawmakers from finding out what happened to the journalist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears you've got an administration that wants to shut down our own intelligence agency and not let them tell members of Congress what's going on. So -- Trump can continue -- mouth piece, which is what he's become for the Saudi regime and its denials.
ACOSTA: The President appears eager to get back to campaigning for the upcoming midterm elections. And he's put his finger on the issue he wants to run on, a caravan of hundreds of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. Mr. Trump tweeted a warning that if the caravan continues its journey, he will halt foreign aid to the region and may freezes to trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Adding in addition to stopping all payments to these countries which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught. And if unable to do so, I will call the U.S. military and close our southern border. To the President, playing the immigration card comes right out of the campaign playbook. As former Trump strategist, Steve Bannon, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to see more of this. You want to see more of this central beating heart issues. Immigration is definitely going to be one.
ACOSTA: But other conservatives, like Republican Congressman Mark Meadows insists, the President should not take the blame if the GOP loses the House come November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he should take the blame. I can tell you. Any place he goes, he gets unbelievable support.
ACOSTA: And the President is beginning to sound defensive over Saudi Arabia's handling of the apparent death of Jamal Khashoggi in an interview with the Associated Press. The President complained that Saudi Arabia is being found guilty until they're proven innocent. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Another story we are watching closely. A caravan of migrants is approaching the U.S. border with Mexico. And President Trump warned he will shut the border down in Mexico can't stop the flow of desperate people. Right now, thousands of men, women, and children are traveling north through Central America. They hope to apply for humanitarian visas in Mexico that will let them into the United States. But the Trump administration is telling Mexico to stop the migrants before they get to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting with leaders in Mexico City, Friday to drive that message home. Earlier, Pompeo welcomed Mexico's decision to get help from the U.N. refugee agency to process the migrants. President Trump, meanwhile, blames the whole thing on Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:10:01] TRUMP: As you know, I'm willing to send the military to defend our southern border if necessary, (Inaudible) because of the illegal immigration onslaught brought by the Democrats because they refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws. They like it. They also figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And the President's chief of staff and his national security advisor both reportedly at odds over U.S. immigration policy.
ALLEN: A source tells CNN that their disagreement is so heated, became so heated that it led to a shouting match inside the White House. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: From what we know, is that an argument between John Bolton and John Kelly turned into a screaming match in the West Wing while the two top aides to President Trump were discussing a recent surge in border crossing. That's something we know has bothered President Trump. He's even at one point, threatened to shutdown the border.
But things got the ugliest when John Bolton and John Kelly were discussing it. And even at one point when John Bolton criticized the DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, saying essentially that she wasn't doing her job. I'm told by sources inside the White House that that set Kelly off, because Nielsen is his protege, essentially.
And he is the one who persuaded President Trump to nominate her to lead the DHS in the first place. Now President Trump was there for the beginning of this argument. He actually sided with John Bolton, agreeing with his sentiments about what Nielsen is doing at DHS. And that just angered John Kelly even more. And I'm told this fight was so bad that it left some wondering if John Kelly would resign over it.
That's how bad this fight was. It wasn't a typical fighting even in a divisive West Wing like this. And one person equated it to a falling out. Now we reached out to the (Inaudible) for comment. They issued a statement a few hours later With Sarah Sanders, saying that while we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another.
She goes on to blame the issue on Congressional Democrats. But nowhere in that statement does she deny that this very heated argument, at times profanity-laced to play between the chief of staff and the national security advisor. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: A federal judge says the U.S. government needs to move faster on the asylum process for reunited migrant families, parents who feel their initial asylum screening while separated from their children will now get a second shot to make their case. And the children will now have a chance to tell a judge about their fears of returning to their home countries.
Government attorneys have pushed for delay, which would have kept dozens of people in detention for longer. Now, some 60 eligible people will be able to move forward in that process. The Taliban remain a major threat in Afghanistan. They're claiming responsibility for the shooting death of Kandahar's powerful police to chief.
ALLEN: The U.N. accused of the chief of committing torture and other abuse, but he was a key U.S. ally because he took on the Taliban. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more on the attack that killed this controversial police chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You have really conjure the scene here. This is supposed to be one of the most maximum security compounds in the country, frankly. The Kandahar Palace in a very restive province in the south (Inaudible) against the fight against the insurgency and the Taliban.
And inside of that, the even more secure bubble in which the U.S. top commander in the country travels is somehow penetrated, (Inaudible) by an Afghan that turned rogue. We've many of these, as President (Inaudible) past where an Afghan official soldier gets hold of a weapon inside a secure area and opens fire. It appears in this case, that's the local police chief, a prominent and perhaps controversial strongman known as Abdul Raziq was the first target of this command along with his local intelligence chief.
They were both killed. But General Scott Miller, that U.S. Commander was able to escape uninjured, and one of his men shot dead (Inaudible), not before though three members of the coalition where it appears injured, two of them American, one civilian, one contractor, and one service member, it appears. The overall message, though, despite how extraordinarily complicated it is to fight the threat of Afghans turning rogue against those (Inaudible) to be meeting as allies or protecting is that this has been an extraordinary security breach.
Frankly, unprecedented, in the last years that I can recall. We are days away from vital parliamentary elections in Afghanistan to decide the -- frankly, the functionality of the Democratic process there. There are record numbers of Afghan soldiers and civilians being killed. And there's near record of bombs being dropped in the country by the United States who have less troops that are making up for losing ground against Taliban using air power. It's a messy situation, possibly the worst it has been for a number of
years. An instance like what's happening in Kandahar today, killing vastly important members for the U.S. presence and the Afghan government and the security forces. Two key figures show -- situation is and -- ahead of the United States is in a war that Donald Trump has pledged to win. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:15:20] ALLEN: (Inaudible) Nick mentioned Afghanistan's parliamentary election is Saturday. More than 2500 candidates are running for 249 seats, 417 of those are female.
HOWELL: And nine million Afghans are registered to vote, including three million women within the country's 34 provinces. Of the country's 7,000 polling places, only 5,000 will be open due to security concerns throughout that nation.
ALLEN: China could be feeling the effect impact of the U.S. trade war, but some say something else is behind its slow GDP growth. We'll look into that coming up here.
HOWELL: Plus, Brexit talks are becoming a race against the clock, and there's now been (Inaudible) that an agreement won't reached before the deadline becomes (Inaudible).
ALLEN: Plus, both Harry and Meghan visiting Australia's beaches is about more than just catching -- about raising awareness for one of -- more on the royal couple's tour ahead here.
HOWELL: It looks like the world's second largest economy is seeing a difference that might not have been expected. China says its GDP grew 6.5 percent in the third quarter.
ALLEN: Now many countries would envy that number, but it is China's weakest quarterly growth since 2009. This time last year, China was reporting 6.8 percent.
HOWELL: Let's talk about this with CNN's Andrew Stevens. Andrew live in Hong Kong this hour, a pleasure to have you, Andrew, as always. And look, this growth rate surely not what China was looking for. Is there a sense that this could be the beginning of more disappointing numbers to come from China?
ANDREW STEVENS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yeah, I think it is actually, George. It's also (Inaudible). This is not this number. This 6.5 percent, which was slightly below expectations, though, most people look for 6.6 percent growth. It does not reflect the fact that China is in a trade war with the United States. In fact, it's all about at this stage, a program which was initiated by the boss, Xi Jinping, really to cut back on the level of debt in China.
[02:20:01] China did -- has for years been growing virtually exponentially. And this has been proving a major headache for Beijing. So about two years ago, authorities started cracking down that -- the rate of crackdown sort of increased this year. What I was reading, something like 2,000 projects, near hundreds of billion dollars worth of projects will -- was scuppered because of concerns about over borrowing.
So that is what was slowing and has been slowing down the economy. Now the Chinese are taking their foot off the pedal there, because the economy is slowing so much. And also they've got this trade war, which is about to start hitting the numbers much more than they already have been. So remember, George, the most of the big tariffs since U.S. imposed only came in towards the end of September.
So they're not reflected in the numbers yet. They will be in the next quarter. And also next year, the beginning of January, they're going to see most likely another big jump in U.S. tariffs on Chinese exports. So all in all, the numbers are looking forward are probably going to get worse. The Chinese will do what they can to mitigate the impact of the U.S. trade war. They will be moderately successful, I suspect, because they can be.
They've got a lot of tools in their work chest, if you like. But people are talking about 6.2 percent growth.
HOWELL: That's not a number China's looking for. And Andrew, make that a very important distinction, saying that this is not a direct result of the trade war between the United States, but perhaps that could be seen the impact of that little later date. How impactful yet to be seen, Andrew. But here's the other question. You talk about how China might try to mitigate this. What measures, what methods could the Chinese governments play out here?
STEVENS: Well, they can throw money at the problem. We've seen this before. Go back to 2008, 2009, the global financial crisis. And you remember then, George that the Chinese economy held up brilliantly. And that was because the Chinese threw money at it. They opened up the spigot. The cash poured into the economy. It kept not only China afloat but it did help the global economy as well. So they have that.
They don't want to throw a lot of money in it, because as I have been saying, their debt levels are much high. But they can encourage the banks to lend more. There are sort of arcane rules on how much the banks have to keep on deposits versus how much they can lend. They can change that so the banks can lend more money. And of course, the obvious one is they can cut interest rates.
But it is interesting. Just coming back to this trade war, the point is that China is fighting a trade war with the U.S. with the Chinese economy on the back foot. It is slowing, whereas the U.S. economy, relatively speaking is forging ahead. So Donald Trump has got behind him a stronger economy. Xi Jinping has got behind him a weaker economy. So he's going to do what he thinks needs to be done to make sure that economy does not get to weak.
HOWELL: Andrew Stevens live in Hong Kong following this story. Andrew, thank you for the reporting, we'll keep in touch with you. ALLEN: British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is confident a
good deal on Brexit is still achievable. But the chief Brexit negotiator warns that will require more time. For the latest, here's CNN's Erin McLaughlin from Brussels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Key leaders say they're still looking for sufficient progress in the Brexit negotiations, and only then will they call for another extraordinary summit on a potential final deal. We heard from German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her press conference. Today is the day that when it comes to the Northern Ireland (Inaudible) all possibilities have been explored, and that a political solution is now necessary.
The key question being given the political situation there in the U.K., does Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, have room to maneuver in that direction, something she was asked about during her press conference on Thursday afternoon.
(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am confident that we can achieve that good deal, and that when I take that deal back to parliament, I think members of parliament will -- perhaps I will be asking members of parliament first to recall that we're delivering all of those to the British people. We gave the British people that choice. They voted to leave the E.U. We will be delivering on that vote.
And I'll also ask them to think about the importance of protecting jobs and livelihoods in the U.K., protecting our security in the U.K., and protecting the union of the United Kingdom.
MCLAUGHLIN: On Sunday night, according to an E.U. source, the two sides actually came very close to a draft agreement but said a decision will take in the 11th hour to quash that potential deal, a Brexit negotiator for the E.U., Michel Barnier, saying that much more time is now needed to strike a deal. The question of course, that comes what does time do to this equation.
How does time help British Prime Minister Theresa May finalized a deal? Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:25:09] HOWELL: Erin, thank you. Back here in the United States, the FBI's headquarters in downtown Washington, I could say, the building...
HOWELL: Is falling apart, built in the 1970s. But there is a plan to build a new headquarters in the suburbs of Washington, but it's suddenly run into opposition from the Trump administration. And that has raised some eyebrows.
ALLEN: Yes. Newly released government emails show the President who once supported moving the FBI headquarters is now against it. And it maybe because Mr. Trump's new hotel just went up the street. Here's CNN Tom Foreman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Overcrowded, outdated, and crumbling. Plans to relocate and rebuild the FBI headquarters have been in the works for years, the government showing how it could be moved from downtown D.C. to one of several possible sides in nearby Maryland or Virginia, the cost, 3.6 billion tax dollars. But now a different plan is calling for the FBI center to be rebuilt right where it is.
Even though it would be smaller than the suburban alternative, likely have security risks, and be more expensive, 3.8 billion. So who came up with that?
TRUMP: I'm a real estate guy. I build buildings.
FOREMAN: A study by the inspector general of the General Services Administration traces a series of meetings in which the suburban plan was pushed aside by the Trump administration, amid claims that keeping the headquarters downtown would be cheaper. The IG report shows team Trump's math is wrong. Nonetheless, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insists the President wanted to save the government money, and also the FBI leadership did not want to move its headquarters.
Skeptics, however, suspect a hidden motive. For years, Donald Trump had been all for freeing up that FBI land downtown for private development, which is brand-new hotel close by, even talking about getting in on the action. But Congressional Democrats in a letter to the GSA say something important changed. After he was sworn in as President and became ineligible as a federal employee to obtain the property.
He reportedly became dead opposed to the government selling the property, which would have allowed commercial developers to compete directly with the Trump Hotel. He was directly involved with the decision to abandon the long-term relocation plan, and instead move ahead with the more expensive proposal. There is no proof so far. And the White House insists once again, House Democrats have it all wrong. But those Democrats are demanding the paperwork to prove it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government will not turn over the information on the President's exact reasoning.
FOREMAN: Why is the President doing this? Why, we just do not know. But inspector general found one of the President's team members may have misled Congress about the President's role in all this, and it has all reignited concern about potential conflicts of interest for this billionaire President. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Tom, thank you. We mentioned a moment ago about trade tensions between the United States and China. There is another source of tensions we'll tell you about in the South China Sea. As Newsroom returns, how a key meeting just hours ago played out between the defense chiefs of both countries. Stay with us.
ALLEN: Also ahead here, thousands of Rohingya have been living in filthy refugee camps in Myanmar. They were told they would only be there for a few weeks. That was back in 2012. Our Matt Rivers at a rare (Inaudible) and he speaks with them. You'll hear their story ahead here on CNN Newsroom.
[02:31:21] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thanks for being with us. I'm Natalie Allen. Let's update you on our top story.
HOWELL: Sources telling CNN that the Turkish authorities react within hour the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and quickly suspected that he had been killed. Even the U.S. president now accepting that likelihood that Khashoggi is dead. When asked Thursday if Khashoggi was dead, Donald Trump replied, "It's certainly looks that way to me."
ALLEN: The police chief of Afghanistan's Kandahar Province seen here has been shot and killed. Afghan official say he had just meet with a top U.S. commander when a gunman opened fired. The U.S. says the commander was not hurt U.S. commander and the assailant was killed by American forces.
HOWELL: It looks like the world's second largest economy is slowing down. China says its GDP grew 6.5 percent in the third quarter. Last year, China reported 6.8 percent growth. It's the country's weakest quarterly growth since 2009.
ALLEN: In Singapore, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has gotten together with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe reportedly trying to ease tensions between Washington and Beijing.
HOWELL: That's right. The pair met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Forum. Just hours ago, the Chinese government requested the meeting and both sides spent significant time discussing the South China Sea this according to the U.S. Defense official. Earlier this month, Secretary Mattis called off a trip to Beijing to meet with Minister Wei amid rising tensions on multiple fronts between both countries.
ALLEN: It was just another front. Let's bring in Carl Schuster to talk about it. He's a visiting assistant professor of history at Hawaii Pacific University. He also has more than 30 years of professional experience in the U.S. Navy specializing in intelligence. Thank so much for speaking with us, professor. First, I want to talk with you about China and its navy. It has built up its navy tremendously. Could you tell us about that and what's behind it?
CARL SCHUSTER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: Yes, ma'am. They've have a 30-year upgrade expansion and modernization program. It started in the mid-80s and they've gone from using imported technology to developing their own indigenous technology. Their warships now are approaching if not on a par with those of the best in the west and it is a source of great national pride much of a driven by their view of history.
They believe that the fall of the Manchu Empire in the century of humiliation was triggered by their ignoring the maritime threat and so they feel they must have a strong navy to prevent that sort of interference. The other issue of course is they are now a globally trading nation. Forty-four percent of Chinese economy is based on foreign trade. And so, they see a navy as the best means of not only protecting that trade but illustrating their interesting in the global arena if you will.
ALLEN: And how should this affect the U.S. Navy? Mattis just met with his counterpart there saying, we're just going to continue on as usual and that means coming very close in waters that the U.S. does not dispute. Two, China's war machines now in the waters there and this isn't something that the United States has had to deal with, has it?
SCHUSTER: Yes, ma'am. The strategic implications are China's claims in the South China Sea would give them control over 85 percent of the water and the airspace over it.
[02:35:07] And over 30 percent in terms of monetary value of global trade passes through those waters of a more immediate interest to the U.S. is it would give China a chunk hold on 24 percent of Japan's trade nearly 25 percent of Taiwan's, and an equal percentage of South Korea. It would also give them a chokehold on Philippines mercantile trade as well as blocking the Philippines, Vietnamese fishing in those waters as well as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Although, in latitude countries to a lesser extent. So that's just strategic implications. Now, the mechanisms involved is of course those smaller nations were not in a position really to challenge the Chinese navy (INAUDIBLE) to maintain those waters and space in their traditional international status and that is what we've been doing, so --
ALLEN: Professor, I want to ask you about -- I want to ask you though about, what are the dangers here? We do know that two U.S. bombers came close to these islands very recently, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of an American warship, so what could go wrong? Could this escalate negatively?
SCHUSTER: It could. The beauty of the B-52s of course is as a general rule, countries may intercept and escort a combat aircraft like a B-52, but they won't dangerous aerial maneuvers around them because of the geopolitical military applications. On ships on the other hand remember, under international law, you only have the rights to -- so when you want to maneuver a ship out of waters you don't want them in -- two courses, you warm them because if you don't warn and you don't tell them it's your waters they're in then that's a tacit surrender of your sovereignty over those waters and your claim to those waters.
And so, they've issued the warnings. Our ships continued to transit there because we have a right and a need to maintain their freedom and navigation. So the aggressive maneuvering or bumper drills as we used to call them in the navy is designed to force you out of those waters and deter any subsequent ships from going into those waters. The risk of collision is also very stressful dealing with the bumper drill and so the idea is that you send a message.
You're going to be harassed if you go into these waters just like they sometimes harass our reconnaissance aircraft. Messing with the reconnaissance aircraft has less implication than messing with a combat aircraft. And so, they're trying to do from going into that airspace. Now, for the -- shall we say -- I'll say the -- there's the initiating country which in this case is China and the victim ship both have a need to maintain safety and navigation and safety of their ship or aircraft.
And so, it becomes a political decision that we continue to go in there. There is always a risk of collision as we saw in 2001 when the Chinese fighter pulled up too soon in front of the EP-3 and as you saw with the bumper drill two weeks ago, 45 yards seems like a great distance when you're on foot walking on a sidewalk. But for a ship in the water, that's a very, very close and very dangerous. A collision would inflict thousands if not a million dollars' worth of damage and also there's a chance of injury and death.
ALLEN: Yet another area to watch closely between the U.S. and China. We thank you so much from your expertise. That was very interesting. Carl Schuster, thanks so much.
SCHUSTER: Thank you and thank you for having me. Take care.
ALLEN: You too.
HOWELL: More than 700,000 Rohingya escaped Myanmar since August of this past year surviving a military operation at the United Nations report described as genocide. CNN's Matt Rivers and his team received rare access by Myanmar's government to meet with some of the Rohingya Muslims still leaving in Rakhine State.
ALLEN: The tour apparently an attempt by Myanmar to convince the world they did not commit genocide despite the mountain of evidence collected by the U.N. and others.
HOWELL: Let's get more of Matt's special report. Matt Rivers joining this hour live in Beijing. Matt, a pleasure to have you on the show. Tell us more about what you learned and what you saw.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, basically, you know, we reported yesterday amount Myanmar's government attempt to try and, you know, obscure the narrative about what happened in the Rohingya. But moving forward, we wonder, well, why won't the Rohingya come back. There are a number of different reasons for that just reasons for that. But one of the reasons is what we saw at some of these camps that Rohingya are currently in well south of where that violence actually happened.
These Rohingya have been in camps for years now. The camps are -- the conditions are horrific and that's part of the reason why -- come back. We got to see that firsthand.
[02:40:08] RIVERS: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in 2017 after violence the U.N. calls a genocide. But when Myanmar's government tells the refugees to come back, this place is the possible future many are afraid of. This is a refugee camp well south of where the killing happened. These people are Rohingya too, a Muslim minority.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like an open prison. Even in the prison, the prisoners they allow that how long they have to be there in the prison.
RIVERS: We obscure this man's identity so he could speak openly. He and other Rohingya came here in 2012 when violence broke out in Rakhine. They were told they'd be sent home in two to three weeks. It's been six years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long shall we have to be here? We don't know.
RIVERS: In the camps, there's no jobs, no education, no healthcare. They live in bamboo huts with no -- looming over stagnant water. The conditions here are visibly terrible and yet there are more than a hundred thousand people in camps like this throughout this area. They were never supposed to be here this long. The Burmese government has said that they plan to shutdown these camps amongst growing international pressure and yet so far there are no concrete signs that they're doing so in a responsible way.
The stateless Rohingya are wildly despised by dominant ethnic Buddhist groups and aren't recognize as citizens by the government. So if Myanmar's government makes familiar promises to the refugees in Bangladesh, come back, live in a temporary camp, and then go home, people don't believe it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I will tell them not to come back, no, if not the right time to come back.
RIVERS: There's clear mistrust in the government that says credible claims of mass killing, torture, and rape last year aren't true. We're giving an armed escort by local police everywhere we go. They say it's for our protection and that is partly true. But it's also true that these guys are here to make sure that we don't go anywhere they don't want us to. But even then it's not hard -- Rohingya don't want to be -- where no one should be --
RIVERS: So there are a number of different reasons why the Rohingya don't want to come back, those camps obviously a huge reason for that. There's also issue of citizenship. The Rohingya despite having live for generations in Myanmar are not given rights that citizenships would be. They aren't given citizenship at all. And also, they're still scared for their lives because the same security personnel that would help facilitate their repatriation into Myanmar are some of the same people who were accused of carrying out the U.N. called genocide in the first place.
So for all of those reasons combined, it is not clear at all how hundreds of thousands of Rohingya will get out of these camps that they're currently living in both in no man's land and in Bangladesh.
HOWELL: Matt, pointing out the trust gap that certainly has many inclined not to return. But I want to ask you about the investigation itself in -- U.N. report describes aside where is the government now on that report?
RIVERS: Well, Myanmar's government somewhat amazingly continues to deny that -- at a bare minimum atrocities happened. You can call it a genocide. You can call it ethnic cleansing. The point is that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that says that at least 10,000 Rohingya were killed that tens of thousands more were injured. People were tortured, raped. I mean the independent evidence that has been gathered by the U.N., by the U.S., by scores of different journalism organizations independently of one another would all suggests that this happened, and yet, Myanmar's government continues to deny it in the face of all of that.
It's amazing when you continue to hear those denials, but that's their story and they're sticking to it. It doesn't mean that we have to believe it.
HOWELL: The images of these men, women, and children that we're seeing here, Matt, it is heartbreaking. We appreciate you taking the time, you and your team to bring us this report. Thank you. Matt Rivers live in Beijing. We'll stay in touch with you.
ALLEN: (INAUDIBLE) how Myanmar just rejects the report and the misery on those -- on those poor families there.
HOWELL: It just tells the story.
ALLEN: Yes. Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, Facebook goes to war against fake news.
HOWELL: The social network has setup a war room to help fight the spread of misinformation during the upcoming U.S. election. We'll take you inside for a look.
[02:47:27] ALLEN: The midterms, we are getting closer and closer. And one of the most closely watched races during the U.S. midterms where Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke is try -- Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
HOWELL: All eyes are on the home state there. During the CNN Town Hall, O'Rourke doubled down on his claim that if elected to the Senate, he would vote to impeach the U.S. president. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, TEXAS: I would like an impeachment to an indictment. There is enough there to proceed with the trial, for a full vetting of the facts, and to make the best- informed decision in the interests of this country and our future.
As you know, under the Constitution, as a member of the Senate, it's a far different bar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Dana Bash, though did have to push him on that, he didn't answer the first time, answer the second time when asked by Dana Bash. Ted Cruz has tried to paint O'Rourke's position on impeachment as outside the mainstream. Cruz declined CNN's invitation to appear at that town hall.
ALLEN: Well, Facebook has a message before the midterms. They won't be fooled again.
HOWELL: It's set up what's called a war room to avoid a repeat of the misinformation that spread across the social network during the 2016 presidential campaign.
ALLEN: Laurie Segall went to take a look.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: The room isn't that big, just enough space for around 20 people and their computers. But the undertaking is enormous.
SAMIDH CHAKRABARTI, PRODUCT MANAGER, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, FACEBOOK: It's really the culmination of two years of massive investments we've made.
SEGALL: Just weeks ahead of the midterm election, Facebook has created what it's calling the war room.
CHAKRABARTI: We have a bunch of dashboards that you see around the perimeter of the room, which actually are backed up by artificial intelligence and machine learning to be able to flag any sort of anomalies or problems that we see.
Once that happens, our data scientists are able to review it, understand what's happening, and passed it along to our engineers and operations specialists to take action against harmful content that we see on our platform.
SEGALL: It's been nearly two years since Facebook was caught flat- footed. There was the Russian interference aimed at manipulating the 2016 presidential election.
A privacy scandal that left users wondering if they could trust the platform. Now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to get ahead of these issues. And Facebook's new war room is part of those efforts.
CHAKRABARTI: They are actually monitoring our systems in real time for any sort of new threats that we may see. Investigate them, and then make decisions about how to take action against violating content that we see on our platform to prevent it from going viral.
SEGALL: Leading up to the midterm elections, this room will be operating 24/7. The people in this room are supported by the 20,000 Facebook employees across the globe hired to work on safety and security.
[02:50:11] CHAKRABARTI: We've actually been running this for the first round of the Brazilian election, which was just last week. And during that time, we saw in potential voter-suppression-related content.
SEGALL: Two years after the 2016 election, the attacks have changed. Nathaniel Gleicher, who served on President Barack Obama's National Security Council, now leads Facebook's efforts to eliminate trolls and state-run disinformation campaigns.
NATHANIEL GLAZIER, HEAD, CYBERSECURITY POLICY, FACEBOOK: One of the challenges we always face is that if you have sophisticated threat actors, they keep evolving their tactics. They don't do the same thing again and again.
And so part of what we've done is, as we head into these elections, we sort of think about our threat model. What are the new challenges that are coming, what are the things that we haven't seen before that we could see, and what are the new twist that might get thrown at us? And then we test that and run that.
SEGALL: Another challenge? Communication. Silicon Valley and the government have historically had trouble communicating as platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become weaponized. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey acknowledged the problem in a congressional hearing in September.
JACK DORSEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TWITTER: We would like a more regular cadence of meetings with our law enforcement partnerships. We would appreciate, as much as we can, consolidating to a single point of contact so that we are not bouncing between multiple agencies to do our work.
SEGALL: Do you guys have a more streamlined approach now with the government when it comes to reporting? Do you have a direct line to the FBI, to DHS, to some of this major campaigns when you do find something?
GLEICHER: So we work closely with the Foreign Influence Task Force of the FBI, with the Department of Homeland Security. Another really important partner for us, actually, is state elections officials. Because they are the ones who are on the ground, they're going to see threats emerge first.
SEGALL: And what do you say to folks who say, can we trust Facebook to keep us safe?
GLEICHER: Our biggest priority is to make sure that users can have authentic conversations on the platform, and that election can be free and fair and open.
SEGALL: Do you believe it will be?
GLEICHER: I believe that we've done everything we can to make sure that, that will be the case.
HOWELL: Laurie Segall, there. Facebook under a lot of pressure to do something. So, we'll see if actions speak louder than words there.
ALLEN: I know, it's so important when you realize what's at stake.
HOWELL: Yes. Absolutely.
ALLEN: It was elections and such that they get ahead of it. So, hopefully, we'll have a follow up with them.
ALLEN: Well, I think that you probably know by now that Harry and Megan are in Australia. Well, Harry went for a little walk.
HOWELL: A little walk, really. High scaling great height there on behalf of -- foundations. We'll take a look on this. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Prince Harry is on Australia. Champion -- championing, championing, I should say, some of his favorite causes. If I can say that word now.
ALLEN: Just rewrite it next time.
HOWELL: Yes, yes.
ALLEN: He's a champion of his -- one of his favorite causes.
HOWELL: There it is. Here's the champion. Earlier, he climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At the top, he raised the flag for the Invictus Games, an Olympic style tournament he started for military personnel wounded in action. The competition opens on Saturday in Sydney.
ALLEN: All right. Now, let's also include Meghan. There she is. Before the great climb, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent time with surfers on Bondi Beach for an event to raise awareness of mental health issues.
The royal couple on a 16-day tour of Australia, and the South Pacific. Hannah Sinclair joins us from our Australian affiliate, SBS, she's there in Sydney. And yes, we know that a big part of this trip was the announcement that Meghan is now pregnant, so that's part of the trip. But also, Harry climbed the bridge there behind you. And I must admit, and I was a little nervous for him because -- you know, he is going to be a father.
[02:55:28] HANNAH SINCLAIR, CROSS PLATFORM REPORTER, SMALL BUSINESS SECRETS: Well, there are certainly been many memorable moments of this World Tour. And I think, some people would certainly have been holding their breath there. There are plenty of steps to the top of the Harbour Bridge, but rest assured the prince was in safe hands. He was with the many professionals.
Meghan wasn't with him on this particular royal duty. He was joined by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and some of the competitors that will be competing in the Invictus Games that get underway tomorrow.
The flag before that official event was hoisted up, and that's now sailing above Sydney Harbour. A very special event one that's close to Prince Harry's heart and the real reason for them coming down under for this royal troop.
He was seen waving to the cameras, he was chatting to the various participants that he was walking up the bridge with, and he didn't seem to look too nervous. He kind of looks cool as a cucumber. With his sunglasses on at the top, there's certainly a nice day here in Sydney. Plenty of Sun and the weather has come out for the world for this spectacular photographic opportunity.
ALLEN: Right, and Hannah, it has been their first trip as husband and wife. And of course, the exciting news that she is expecting. So, how's it going for them?
SINCLAIR: Look, it's really just been a tour, a very memorable moment. So, a lot of the people that we've spoken to have just entered on their interactions with each other -- between Prince Harry and they are just appear to be so in love and really enjoying their time here in Australia.
Mingling with the crowd today, they have so much time for all the people that are lining up, many people from very early in the morning. This morning at Bondi Beach, thousands of people were up against barricades just hoping to catch a glimpse.
And a lot of the official events that actually been running slightly behind schedule just because they're being so generous with their time. And they're also really trying to draw attention that -- to issues that they really care about.
Prince Harry has really made a note of bringing attention to mental health awareness. And this morning on Bondi Beach, they were with some surfers. A local surfing group called One Wave. They were dressed in flora colors. They trying to bring attention and bright colors to the issue of mental health awareness, and they really seem to enjoy their time there on Bondi Beach.
ALLEN: Hannah Sinclair for us. Thank you so much. And that is it for this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, right back after the break. Stay with us.